870 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

Hey, Ya'll; Just returned from our five day trip to Grand Cayman and Cozumel aboard the Inspiration. First, the trip down: We drove down from North Florida. There were six of us and we left at 6 am. I was worried about leaving out ... Read More
Hey, Ya'll; Just returned from our five day trip to Grand Cayman and Cozumel aboard the Inspiration. First, the trip down: We drove down from North Florida. There were six of us and we left at 6 am. I was worried about leaving out of Tampa as the port is practicaly "Downtown". I had pulled up Flash Earth and picked out the best looking roads, then entered it into our GPS and we went straight to the port with very little hassle or traffic! We arrived a few minuets early and had to wait for the departing passengers to clear. Be sure to use the Valet Parking, about ten dollars more, as this will save your nerves getting around in Tampa! Check in was a "Breeze" it took about 10 min. as the Tampa's "Got Their Ducks In A Row"! Total time in the terminal was less than 30 min. I also liked the gangway entering on the Empress Deck, very handy to the Lido! I give the Port of Tampa five stars. Next, The Ship: The Inspiration is a Beautiful, Well Maintained Ship! Some folks had complained about the purple decor and I was expecting tacky, but it is actually not bad at all! The layout is basically the same as the other Fantasy Class Ships, so we had no trouble gettin' 'round. The night before leaving, Carnival had announced that our itinerary had been changed and that we would be in Key West the next morning, but about three hours into the trip they changed us back! YAY, Carnival!! We had a Port Hole [PT] cabin and it was nice. This trip was rough so we felt it a little more because of the location. It wasn't very bad, though! We had encountered our first problem early. We used my Buddy's PVP and she didn't link our bookings like she was supposed to! I went to see the Maitre'd, Roland and he straightened it out, "No Problem"! He brought us a new table number before dinner! The food was Great! We ate in the Mardi Gras with Uysef [sp] as Maitre'd, and our two waiters[ they were Russian or Romanian or something unpronounceable] were a lot of fun! Hot food, hot and Cold food, cold! Just like it should be! The only time we had long lines were in the buffet during the busy times at lunch. I give the food five stars for the trip! Our room steward, "Ten" was just OK. He was efficient, but he didn't speak English very well, so some of the little things I asked him to do, such as removing the mini bar stuff for more room, didn't get done. No big deal! The rest of the staff was very friendly and helpful! I give the staff four stars! Next, entertainment: The first night, I found out the first "Negative" of our trip. I thought that since school was in there would be fewer kids, well so much for that! First the children were no problem! You rarely saw them probably due to Camp Carnival and when you did they were pretty well behaved! But then there were the College Kids! I think that more than 60% of this cruise were between the ages of 18-30 and you knew they were there! This was definitely a Fun Ship if by fun you want Drinking and Dancing! I enjoyed watching them, but didn't enjoy hearing them in the hallway at 2:30 am! Since there were so many Young'uns on board I think the entertainment folks really catered to them, as there didn't seem to be the activities as on previous cruises. Stephanie the CD was OK, Matt the assistant was everywhere with the dancing and activities! He was a "Hoot"! The shows especially "Shout" was really Good! We saw it twice. The Other show, "Fiesta", was good but it was the same as "Hey Mombo" we saw on the Fascination last year. The magician, and the Comedians were good! They didn't have the Talent Show. I give the entertainment four stars. Next, The Cruise: The trip was pretty rough! We were following Tropical Storm Mathew and we could really feel it! Everybody needs to experience the Thrill of being in a fwd. PT cabin when they are trying to set the anchor! What a Racket! Since it was so rough, the "Tenderizer" boats in Grand Cayman did just that! They beat us up! Swam with the Stingrays,booked through Stingray Sailings found on Trip Advisor, Coolest excursion I've ever been on! Went snorkeling, used my $79 "Splash" underwater camera to take 170 pictures and Had A Great Time! Cozumel, went shopping with DW and spent many "Pesos". Had Fun! I give the cruise four Stars! [only because of rough seas that were NOT Carnivals fault] I feel that Carnival did a Stellar Job on this cruise and I am looking forward to our next trip in Jan. I even purchased a Future Cruise Cert. for one after that! I give the overall trip, four stars! [mainly for personal preferences] Be Blessed! Mikey< Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was my second cruise on the Inspiration in 3 years. The ship was renovated before our sailing this time and we did notice some great changes, but I don't want to get ahead of myself! There were (4) of us woman, one who had never ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Inspiration in 3 years. The ship was renovated before our sailing this time and we did notice some great changes, but I don't want to get ahead of myself! There were (4) of us woman, one who had never cruised before. We drove from Orlando to Tampa the morning of the cruise without incident. We arrived at the port by 11am, dropped our luggage off (tipped the porter $1 a bag) and self parked for $15 a day. 2 of us went into the regular line and 2 went through VIP. We both ended up checking in around the same time. Because we were together, they actually let us "non-VIP" get on the ship with our VIP friend..whoohoo, nice way to start our trip!! We were told our itinerary was going to change, due to the storms in Mexico, but before we set sail, it was changed back..Grand Cayman & Cozumel, here we come! The food buffet was your typical standard food choices and we were able to find seats without any problems at all. Went to buy my soda card and my DOD (Drink of the Day) card and found out they no longer have the DOD Card..booo!! I really liked that the last 2 cruises we went on. We were able to get into our rooms by 1:30 and found 1 out of 2 bags had arrived. Didn't get the 2nd bag until after 4pm, probably because I and 2 of my friends received the dreaded nasty letter, stating they took my liquor (even though it was in clear bottles). We did get on the ship with a bottle of wine a piece and my VIP friends got ALL her liquor through?? The dreaded Life Boat Drill was not dreaded at all! We got to go into the showroom (without having to bring our life vests), watch the presentation on stage and then walked to where the lifeboat was located and we were done! This keeps getting better and better! Still had plenty of time to grab a drink and make our way to the Funnel Deck to see the ship pass beneath the Tampa Bay Bridge..it's absolutely amazing..it really looks like it won't fit under and does with inches to spare! I'm getting a little wordy, so will condense what I can: Rooms - Even though they are only 185 sq ft., there is plenty of room! There was plenty of closet space and drawers/shelves for 2 people's clothes. The bathroom is defiantly smaller than the large ships, so make sure you bring an over the door organizer, it will make a big difference! There is no blow dryer or refrigerator in the room and only (1) plug (make sure you bring an extension cord). The room was freezing most nights (I loved it!) and there was an extra blanket in the closet and a way to turn the air down in the room (on the ceiling/never knew that). Our Room Steward "Melinda" was fantastic!! She took very good care of us and kept our wine on ice at all times! Pillows and bed sheets/comforter were very soft/comfortable! A small container that held toothpaste, 2 different razors, floss pics and some lotion were included, as well as shampoo and body wash in the shower (not recommended..very drying). The rooms also included (2) bathrobes (ours was missing one and brought right away). There was a small flat screen TV that played movies all day and information regarding past/present events on the ship. I was a little disappointed that they no longer had the program on the TV where you could check your Sail & Sign Account or what was for dinner that night. We did get a mini bill 2 nights before our cruise ended and then another one the morning we arrived back home. Food - We ate at the buffet for lunch (standard type food), pizzeria is 24 hours and they make the best Caesar salad (ask for chicken to be added)..yumm! Ice cream was also 24 hours (never tried it, but I saw LOT'S of people eating it at all times of the day and night! Sushi is served on the Promenade Deck from 5:00pm-8:15pm, every day, except formal night (we found that out the hard way)..lol. It always tasted fresh and they also serve Saki for an extra charge (not sure because we never tried it). Dining Room - Here's where I was the most disappointed! We had a great table and great table mates, but our server(s) were the worst I have ever experienced in all my cruises. We were always the first to get there and the last to leave, even though our food was served sometimes 2 (hot) things at a time. We would end up piling up our plates to make room for the food being delivered and when we asked for them to be removed, it fell on deaf ears most times. One of my meals was served Ice Cold (after watching it sit on a table for 15 minutes before being served to us). When asked why I didn't eat it, I told him it was ice cold (again fell on deaf ears). Even one of our desserts (Tiramisu) was served FROZEN. When he asked why none of us ate it, we told him it was frozen all the way through (stabbing it with a fork for effect), he just walked away, and we thought he went to get us other ones but he never came back. This happened off and on the whole cruise, not only to us, but the other couples at our table. OK..enough about that! I was amazed at the amount of people who wore jeans or shirts every day to the dining room..such a shame. Cozumel - All four of us went to Nachi Cocum and had the time of our lives! $49.00, all inclusive, (appetizer, entrEe, dessert, alcohol, etc). The taxi over cost $15.00 for 4 people (we talked them down to $12, but ended up giving him $1 a piece tip). We arrived at 11am and stayed and drank until 4:30. The weather was a little overcast, but we still managed to get some sun. We ended up spending the whole day in the fresh water pool (right next to the pool bar) and only ventured into the ocean for a quick dip (just so I could say I did..lol). The water was a little cloudy, but the storm had just come through the day before. There was always someone cleaning ever where you looked! Bathrooms were very clean as well. We ate wings, nachos, guacamole (delicious), shrimp, rive, veggies, fajitas, etc. Everything was delicious! Drinks were flowing non-stop! Lot's of different Foo-Foo drinks (try Sex In The Pool), people were doing shots of tequila and drinking beer, etc. We did end up tipping our server and bar tender $5 each a piece because they did such a great job! I do know they have parasailing, snorkeling, etc. for an extra charge, l but we were not interested in that this time. I did rent a mat for my beach chair $9 but never used it..lol, since I spent the whole day in the pool! Grand Cayman - The water was pretty choppy, due to the storm coming through earlier, and Carnival actually cancelled their Swim with the Stingrays/Snorkel excursion because of it. 2 of us did find a local boat that did go out and they had a great time. They said the water was pretty choppy though! My friend Linda and I did a tour of the island via a local driver for $15 apiece. We were teamed up with (8) other people in an air conditioned van and we went to Hell (tourist trap that sells things like bumper stickers "I've been to Hell & Back:, etc. a post office where you can get you post card stamped from hell, Tortola Rum Factory (got kind of smashed on free rum and rum cake), saw the Governor Mansion and spent a few minutes at the Turtle Farm ($12 fee for that if you want to go in) or right across the street they had swimming with the dolphins and we got to watch other cruise passengers interact and swim with them (I think the cost of that was $85.00?). Entertainment - The entire staff of cruise director, assistant director, etc., did a great job of entertaining the passengers! Kudos's to "Princess Alex" who was by far one of the best entertainers/directors on the ship! We did not watch any of the normal pool activities (we were enjoying the adult Serenity Deck too much), but did win a few medallions for trivia and a 24K Plastic Ship on A Stick for Music Trivia! Speaking of the Adult Serenity Deck..lol..we loved it, especially the call button..you pushed a little button next to your chair and ta-da..up appears a server taking your drink order..cool! The cushion mats need to be changed as they do not stay on very well and slip when you sit on them, but they beat the hard plastic ones on the lido deck! My only wish would be a pool for the adults. There are (2) hot tubs (one was hot, the other tepid at best) in the Serenity Deck area and were always crowded, but heck..that's half the fun! Getting off the ship was painless..due to our friends VIP status, we were again able to "latch" onto her and we were told to go into the library and we would leave from there. Seems like a lot of people got off before we were finally called, but again, we were not in that big of a hurry!! Went downstairs and retrieved our luggage and paid a porter to bring it to our car ($2 a bag) and we were on our way back home! Side Note: I was the only one that got any of her liquor back as it was unopened. It was delivered to my room the last night of the cruise. All in all a great getaway with some great friends, met more friends on the ship and will hopefully be traveling with them again in the future!!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
OK, so I'm new to writing reviews, but I'm not new to cruising. This last sailing on Carnival's Inspiration was our 4th cruise, our first and third on RCI, our second on Disney. When we decided to celebrate our 20th ... Read More
OK, so I'm new to writing reviews, but I'm not new to cruising. This last sailing on Carnival's Inspiration was our 4th cruise, our first and third on RCI, our second on Disney. When we decided to celebrate our 20th anniversary by taking a cruise, we went in looking for a very inexpensive trip that also fit our schedule. This cruise was preceded by a week in Disney World with our 10-year old whom we shipped off to the grandparents so that we could have some mommy and daddy anniversary time. From the start, we had very low expectations as this was a Carnival cruise and we were somewhat snobbish. At each point we were met with smiles from the crew, especially the check-in staff. Once on board, we went right to our cabin, a Main deck midships interior stateroom that had a lot more room than I expected. It was well ventilated and unless someone walked by with a loud voice or heavy footsteps, we could not hear anything in the hallway. Here are our observations, cheers and jeers: The ship: Time for redecoration, Carnival. Dated is the best word I could use to describe the Inspiration's New Orleans themed decor. And who decides what gets shown on TV? The major networks were represented by Denver affiliates. Denver? We're in the Western Caribbean. Obviously, if you're in your cabin, you're not spending money in the bar; a place where the ship wants you to be. But for a ship with an east coast route that on our cruise seemed to be populated by mostly Floridians and east coasters, I would have expected something more Eastern. Oh, and if you're a ship nerd, take the behind the scenes tour. It was great seeing the crew areas, bridge, and engine control room. It really tied things together for me. The mostly Italian crew was so proud to be a part of this ship's operations that it showed in the way they did their presentations. Lastly, during this tour, it was revealed that the Inspiration is a training ship, most of the cruise staff works here to then be relocated to other ships. While it showed occasionally, it wasn't obvious. The food: with few exceptions, the food at the buffet was OK, not spectacular, but edible and filling. The only problem I had was the fried chicken - I tried picking pieces that were not too overcooked, but I was left very dry. In the Mardi Gras dining room, things were very different. Everything was well displayed, well cooked and with only one exception tasted very good. The exception was a lobster bisque that was not prepared to my liking. Otherwise, I looked forward to our dinners. One observation: we took the Your Time dining option which allowed us to show up at the dining room anytime we wished. Of the five dinners, only once were we seated immediately and that was at a time in between the early and late seatings. We were given a pager and told to wait for each of the other four dinners. The waits were not long, I think the longest we waited was about 15 minutes, but the first time we came to dinner and given a pager was somewhat surprising. The service: Our cabin steward was very attentive even though we met him late on our first night. Our cabin was always clean and our bed was always turned down at night with chocolate mints and the next day's cruise newsletter. Our ice bucket was always filled (something that I remember I needed to remind our steward of during our Disney cruise). This was one area where our expectations were exceeded. Because we ate a different times, we had different dining staff each time, however, I think because we were there at different times, we had unusually long waits for our orders to be taken, for food to be delivered, and for bar orders to be filled. Again, something to watch for if you take the Your Time option. All other staff and crew that we interacted with were otherwise OK, the cruise director was very personable, the assistant cruise staffers were typically corny. The itinerary: We had never been to Mexico nor the western Caribbean before so we would be experiencing new places. Grand Cayman, our first port, was very pretty. We selected on board, the Best of Grand Cayman tour, a bus tour with stops at a beach, a turtle farm, the Tortuga Cake store, and Hell, about three hours in total. We found Grand Cayman very pleasant and the Turtle farm a very interesting place to stop. Tendering wasn't a problem, but for the folks behind us in line there was a delay while the tender needed to change positions and then accommodate a handicapped girl. Be forewarned: the tenders are not wheelchair accessible and there can be large gaps between the tender and the ship's ladder. The crew did a commendable job with the young lady, but, it would seem to me there's got to be a better way to accommodate wheelchair bound guests. Our second port was Cozumel and our tour was a 7 hour trip to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. While this was a very hot day, our tour bus was air conditioned and we were never uncomfortable until we returned to the bus after walking the ruins. Again, be forewarned: much of this tour was travel, ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, bus from Playa to the ruins. The star of our tour was Tour Guide Juan, a Mayan descendant who gave us the best history lecture I've ever had. He talked almost 4 hours straight, but it was not idle chatter. I would recommend this tour to anyone and if there's a way to get on Juan's bus, fight for that spot. The disappointment: After walking around the ruins in the Mexican heat, we really didn't want more heat. A day at sea was our last full day of the cruise and we didn't want to spend it outside on deck. We were dismayed to find that there were no truly comfortable reading locations anywhere indoors. There was a library and the internet area, but none of these places had anywhere one could recline and put one's feet up to read or simply snooze. We wound up spending many hours in the buffet, but a booth there was just not that comfortable. The surprise: We came into Cozumel near 11 am and before we docked, the cruise staff wanted the tour groups to organize early. We arrived in one of the lounges and sat facing a set of windows. As I was looking out the window, I saw that we were docking near another, larger ship. It was the Oasis of the Seas, RCI's monster leviathan. How the Oasis stays upright I'll never know and how sea captains of other ships don't get a case of ship envy is beyond me, but, in a word WOW. The other ships I've been on were certainly bigger than the Inspiration, but, none compare in sheer size or visual impact. Anyway, this would be a cruise line I would travel again but I would definitely not go to Mexico in August. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Flew to Tampa on 8/27 with our grandkids (who had stayed with us since 8/17), and met our daughter and son-in-law. We stayed at the Quorum (now a Wyndham), and got the package which includes R/T transportation from the airport to the ... Read More
Flew to Tampa on 8/27 with our grandkids (who had stayed with us since 8/17), and met our daughter and son-in-law. We stayed at the Quorum (now a Wyndham), and got the package which includes R/T transportation from the airport to the hotel, to the cruise port, and back to the airport. After we met at the airport and were driven to the hotel, we all checked in and were driven to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, by the hotel driver, and later picked up by them. It was a nice hotel, although a little dated for my taste. Next morning, were taken to the Tampa Cruise Port, where we had VIP check-in (very nice). It got you in early, and on the ship early. Couldn't go to our room until about 1:30, so we ate at the Lido. After the cruise, we called the hotel, and they picked us up and took us directly to our airline. As far as the cruise itself, let me break it down. EMBARKATION - This was a breeze. From check-in to being on the ship was less than 1 hour. Very friendly people, and with VIP, you sit down one on one with a representative. PORTS OF CALL - We took the 7 Mile beach tour on Grand Cayman, and it was delightful. Free soft drink, a lounge chair and an umbrella for two was provided. My daughter, son-in-law, and the kids went on a Banana Boat Ride right up next to the Inspiration. They had a great time with that, snorkeling and swimming. The four of them did the Stingray/Snorkel tour in Cozumel, and there were mixed reviews on that. DINING - We had fixed early dining in the Mardi Gras restaurant, and were not disappointed. While it seems all steaks come out Medium-Rare, regardless how you ordered it, the food was a pleasant surprise (since we had heard that Carnival food is no match to other cruise lines, and we had previously been on 14 cruises on other lines). The Lido was small, and glitzy. There were long lines for the general food but surprisingly short ones for the pizza and the deli sandwich bar, of which both were very good. ROOM - We had a GS room, and while big enough there were some drawbacks. There is a pole in the room next to the Queen bed, and if you open the couch for another bed, you could not pass the pole to get into the bed without climbing onto the other bed. Also, there was a whirlpool tub in the bathroom, and if you can't lift you leg up about 3 feet, it became difficult to get in. Also, the handles were just dials to turn, and if you have arthritis, or osteoporosis, you would not be able to turn the dials. This aspect was very annoying as we had a very difficult time turning the shower on and off. ENTERTAINMENT - The nightly entertainment was just fine - good shows all around. The staff was very good, especially Matt, who was entertaining all by himself. CAMP CARNIVAL - The 7 year old was enthralled by everything Camp Carnival offered, while the 11 year old enjoyed it, but was more choosy about what she wanted to do, and was around the adults more. WATER WORKS - The grandkids enjoyed all of the water works, and were the first ones down the slides, when they opened. SHIP IN GENERAL - It was obvious that this was an older ship, but the crew were always cleaning and polishing her up. There were areas of step-ups, which are not common on the newer ships. It's a little too glitzy for my taste, but I'm sure others enjoyed it. DISEMBARKATION - Another breeze, once the foreigners checked in downstairs to be cleared by customs. This delayed us at least 1/2 hour, but once our number was called, we got right off, and found our luggage very quickly (quicker than any other cruise). All in all, this was a good cruise, Not the best we've been on, but certainly not the worst. Carnival is known as a Fun Ship and is known for its Family cruises, and this cruise hit that right on the head Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My boyfriend and I picked Carnival cruise because it was one of the least expensive, and I had heard from friends that it was a younger crowd. We also have never done a cruise, so we thought it would be fun. So, I then researched where we ... Read More
My boyfriend and I picked Carnival cruise because it was one of the least expensive, and I had heard from friends that it was a younger crowd. We also have never done a cruise, so we thought it would be fun. So, I then researched where we should leave from and found that it was cheaper to fly to Tampa, then get a cruise from a port we could drive from all the way in NJ. We bought airport transfer for $75 round trip per person. There was a carnival rep waiting for us at the airport. We took an air conditioned bus to the port of Tampa (about a 15 min drive). The cruise ship looked spectacular (being 1st time cruisers). The check in process was a bit chaotic. Lots of lines, no one was directing you on where to go or what to do. Once we got through the check in process we boarded the ship and waited to leave. Once on board there were people everywhere. They only had 2 decks open for people to hang out in.  It was crowded and hot. They had buffet opened for lunch, and it was so busy, non stop people waiting in lines. My first impression was OMG, i hope this isn't how the whole cruise is going to be. We were able to check out the open decks. The Lido deck has a pool, stage, 2 bars, and restaurants. It seemed very nice. I then when to the Verandah deck where they had the waterslides that you always see on tv. The slides looked fun, but to my dismay they ended in a little area of water, and not a pool. I thought through reading reviews that there was another pool located on the Promenade deck where it was adults only, "the serenity retreat". Well, there was no pool, only 2 hot tubs. I was very disappointed. I feel that some of the open deck space really should have been used for another pool. There are 2,000 passengers on the cruise and only one small in ground pool for everyone. You can imagine how crowded that area was on our "day at sea". We were able to get into our cabin around 2pm, before the cruise ship left. It was quite roomy. I thought it was going to be very small, and hardly any space to walk, but it wasnt. We booked a room with 2 porthole windows. I knew i wanted a window, but i didnt want to spend the money on a full view or balcony. I think the portholes were just fine. We had 2 beds that were pushed together to make a king, and had plenty of space to walk around the room. There was a small area with a desk and a mirror and a bathroom. All in all, it exceeded my expectations. Our cabin was located on the 5th floor. At night time i could feel the ship rocking when i was lying completely still, but I am happy to report no sea sickness. The rooms were kept well cleaned. They had service in the morning and at night, always replacing your towels and making your bed. Every night they even made a different towel animal!! Ok, for the food. I really had no idea how much food was available to eat while on a cruise. There was food available 24/7. I think lots of people that cruise really take advantage of this. All people do is eat. We are not big fans of buffets. So, we chose to do the sit down dinner and breakfast everyday. You got to pick your food from a menu and could get anything you wanted. The maitre'd sits you with other couples your age. At first, it is awkward to socialize with people you dont even know, but everyone is doing it, and you kind of get used to it by the second day. The food was good, not fantastic, but good. There was one night where they did do elegant dining (gowns and suits). We chose not to participate, so we ate at the buffet. The buffet is kept well stocked, clean, and lots of choices. I heard that on elegant night there was lobster and shrimp! We missed out! There is a pizza place open 24/7 where we would end up after a night of drinking. There was also a deli, snack bar, and sushi place. We did not try any of those. The drinks......as you know, alcohol is not included. We decided the hell with it, and ordered alcohol everyday. We are on vacation,and we were trying to have a good time.So, we put the cost out of our heads. The drinks were good, not watered down at all. The service was excellent!! They never let you have an empty glass!! The beers were around $5-6 and the drinks were anywhere from $7-12. It was pricey! The entertainment.....during the day they had a band that played the same songs over and over again. It sucked!! At night, they had different bands that were very good. There was an entertainment director named Matt that was awesome and fun. He got lots of games and groups going. They had bingo you could play....which we did try. I was surprised that you had to buy your bingo cards...3 for $10. And then I was surprised that out of over 100 people playing there was only 1 winner. and you won anywhere from $250-500. It wasnt what i was expecting. They had karaoke that was funny, and comedy shows at night. They were very entertaining. There is a disco where everyone goes to dance, it is great, except for the fact that everyone smokes in there and they keep the door closed. I couldnt stand it for longer than 10 minutes. The casino was ok. They have slots and table games. We played a little every night. Not nearly as strict as AC or Vegas, but good, (also smokey). We docked in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Both locations were great. You have to get tendered to Cayman. This means you get on a smaller boat that takes you in to the island. The water is too shallow for the cruise ship to go in. The tender process was organized and easy. In Cozumel, we docked right onto the pier and were able to walk on and off the cruise ship. We had planned excursions through outside companies before our cruise. I am glad that I did. The cruise excursions were very crowded and impersonal. The excursions and visiting the islands were the best part of our trip. We loved it! The thing that was probably the most annoying about the entire cruise was the pictures and photographers. They have photographers holding up the lines of people getting on and off the ship to take your picture. It was quite annoying, talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Why would anyone place a photographer where they would be holding up lines of 100's of people?? Then, they had photographers all through the ship, asking you to take your picture as you walked by on numerous occasions. They also had photographers taking pictures of you while you were trying to eat at dinner. I just found it very annoying. Dont get me wrong, if you wanted to get nice pictures taken you could, or if you wanted a nice family picture it was a good idea, however this was just too much. Then, they actually printed all the pictures they took, and put them on display all around one of the decks. So, now you had everyone that had their picture taken (hundreds of people) all crowded in one deck trying to find their picture. We totally avoided this area because you couldn't even move. Talk about a waste. How many people actually bought theses pictures that they printed everyday? I dont know!! The dress attire....being first time cruisers, we had no idea how to dress. We brought beach casual clothes. Sundresses, linen pants, casual polo shirts. Let me tell you that I think we were the most underdressed people there. At night time people go all out. They where fancy dressed and heels, and the men where dress pants with button downs almost every night. I wish I would have known how dressy people get before I packed for this cruise. When we docked back in Tampa and it was time to get off the ship, they called you to get off by your deck. We waited and waited. They let people who decided to carry their luggage themselves off first. We decided to do this to get out of there quicker, however that didnt happen. There were people all over the place trying to leave, blocking the stairwells. Some people that didnt have their luggage were trying to leave with the other people. It was just nuts!! Our deck never got called, so we ended up getting in line to get off on our own. I think if they just have set times for people to get off that it would have been better. It was just one huge cluster crap!! All in all, we had a good time. Like I said the excursions and the islands were the best part of our cruise. I dont think i would cruise again just with my boyfriend. I think I would go back with a group of friends or family. For us, at night there wasnt much to do. I think with a bigger group we could have entertained each other more and had more fun. The pool was my biggest disappointment, and the pictures were the thing i disliked the most. Carnival Inspiration was a nice, clean ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Some background info....This was our 4th Carnival cruise. We sailed twice on the Miracle and once on the Freedom. This was our first time on the Inspiration and also our first 5 day cruise. The others were 8 day cruises. I'm 43 and DW ... Read More
Some background info....This was our 4th Carnival cruise. We sailed twice on the Miracle and once on the Freedom. This was our first time on the Inspiration and also our first 5 day cruise. The others were 8 day cruises. I'm 43 and DW is 41. Our son Matthew is 12. We were cruising with friends of ours who have two sons ages 12 and 9. Flew into Tampa the night before and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Tampa - Westshore ... pretty nice hotel for the money. Nice pool and lounge area. Walking distance to a mall where we picked up last minute things and had a very nice dinner at PF Changs... Cab ride from hotel to port was reasonable ..... Getting out of the cab I was excited to see we were FIRST on line....Had our fun pass info all printed out and ready to go. Check in took us less than five minutes. Got our zone one card and waited to be called. They started with a wedding party...VIPs and special service people. Than they called zone one....I ran to the gate as I wanted to be FIRST on the ship....I know I'm 43 but still act 12 LOL. Went up to the Lido deck for a bite to eat and a DOD.....Lido deck was crowded as you would expect. The ship was at full capacity so we figured lines would be long. All in all was not too bad. Started out to explore the ship and let the kids check things out. None of the kids wanted to do Circle C or Camp Carnival which was fine by us. Our rooms were ready fairly quickly and luggage arrived not long after. Muster drill was handled nicely. They had passengers sit in different areas of the ship and show us how to use the life vests....Much nicer than standing in the hot sun trying to see the instructor. After the demonstration they took us to where our muster station was and that was the end of muster. First night we explored the ship...tried the casino and hit the water slides. After a very nice dinner we went to the shows. (More on those later) Went to a couple of the lounges for some drinks and called it a night. First sea day we enjoyed all the ships activities. Bingo...water slides...trivia....music...over all a good time. First stop was Grand Cayman....We booked the Hell, Turtle Farm and Stingray excursion with Carnival. Normally I book privately but with the kids and tendering in Grand Cayman figured better to book with Carnival. Our first stop was a town called HELL....Although the kids had a fun time saying they "went to HELL"...it was a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. All you saw was a rock formation that was maybe 20 feet long and than you went into the gift shop. There they had all types of things to buy staying you were in HELL...Etc...STAY AWAY from the HELL TOUR if you can. Next stop was the turtle farm. It was fun, just wish we had a little more time to spend there. We were able to hold a number of turtles and see some really big turtles. After the walk through the turtle farm they had a place to order food and drinks. Grand Cayman is known for their turtle meat so I tried the turtle stew which was very tasty. I also had for the first time Conch critters. Our last stop was swimming with the stingrays. We took a 20 minute boat ride to Stingray Beach. Water was about 3 feet deep and stingrays all over the place. The guides were very helpful in showing us how to hold the stingrays. HIGHLY recommend this stop and would do it again next time in Grand Cayman. About an hour in the water with the stingrays and than back to the boat. Our second stop was Cozumel. Having been there in January we figured we would just get a cab and head to one of the beaches. In January we went to Mr. Sancho's and had a great time. However after some research we decided to go to Paradise Beach as they would have more for the kids to do. The cab told us it would be 30.00 for the 7 of us and we heading to Paradise Beach. On the way there he told us Mr. Sancho's now has water rides for the kids just like Paradise Beach. We decided to go to Mr. Sancho's again. To get on the beach was free and kids were 12.00 for the use of all the water rides and pool. My DW and our friend decided to try the jet skis...DW had a BLAST. Than the skies opened up and the rains came...and came and came....lol We decided to head back to the ship and get ready for dinner. We had a great time at both islands and would love to visit both again. Having been on two newer ships this was our first cruise on a small and older ship. That being said I can only compare to what I know of the Miracle and Freedom. Entertainment.....The singers and dancers were horrible IMO....We almost walked out of the show SHOUT but figured it would have to get better at some point...NOPE never did. The social director Stephanie was not good at all....The assistant social director Matt was HILARIOUS ...No matter if he was at bingo....trivia...dance he was always making us laugh. Food.....Can never complain about the food or service we receive from Carnival. Our waiters were excellent and knew what we would want on each night. Would bring our kids double orders of shrimp as soon as we sat down. I do have to say this is the first time I can actually say we enjoyed the Maitre D. Very friendly and came over to the table EVERY night to make sure our service was good. Staff....They were pleasant at all times but just didn't seem as friendly as our past cruises. Ship.......again because I've only been on two bigger and newer ships it's hard to compare. However I will say a few things I noticed. The dEcor of the ship was a little run down. The elevators were dark and you could barley see what was written on the floors. Around the ship there were a lot of places that needed general maintenance. I also noticed that they had no phones in the public area where you could call someone's room. Also didn't like the idea that our room had no cooler to keep our drinks cold. Overall we had a great time...We love Carnival and have another cruised booked for January and looking into another next summer. For my own personal taste I think I would stick to the larger and newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My 10th cruise, my husband's 6th cruise, my oldest child's 4th cruise, and my youngest child's 1st cruise. Our travel agent did not tell us there were any large groups booking this cruise. There were 1300 mostly teen-aged ... Read More
My 10th cruise, my husband's 6th cruise, my oldest child's 4th cruise, and my youngest child's 1st cruise. Our travel agent did not tell us there were any large groups booking this cruise. There were 1300 mostly teen-aged girls and their families with the Barbizon modeling agency competing in front of agents & scouts. They occupied most spaces with "private functions" as were we told by the signs posted at most public rooms. I felt regular activities/programming were light due to the group having their own agenda and using the spaces. Service was pretty good most of the time. Exceptions were the breakfast and lunch open dining in the Mardi Gras dining room. The hostess often ignored requests to be seated at a table for 2 more people so that people we were traveling with could join us as soon as they arrived in the dining room (typically about 5 minutes later). One morning she moved us to another table after we ordered breakfast and our items did not arrive before the dining room closed. Bar service was sometimes slow at the bar at the bottom of the atrium with only one bartender and a lot of guests. There are push-buttons for bar service in the Serenity deck area which indicated bar service within 3 minutes of pushing the button, but sometimes that went ignored. We sailed in two adjoining staterooms, R130 & R134 so that we could avoid bunk beds and have additional space. Our travel agent booked one adult in each room and one child in each room. Carnival changed it to two adults in one room and two small children in the second room. We kept the children's keys so that we could access both rooms from the outside. (This also created problems at dinner as we were assigned a different (adjacent) dining table than that of our children. We were able to switch with people to correct the issue.) The cabin steward did not set up the beds correctly when we first arrived. Cabin R130's bed was setup together against the adjoining door so that we could not open it to connect the cabins. To keep the beds together there was no good way to position the beds that would not block the adjoining door. Food in the dining room was ok but not great. Lobster tail was not broiled and was served a little limp/soggy. The NY Deli on the Lido deck was great for fresh-made sandwiches. We were a little disappointed there were no made-to-order omelet stations or anything like that and there was no major late-night buffet. One night there was a mexican buffet out by the pool. Both children participated in the children's programs. They were better than on past cruises. All children had to wear a wristband with muster station letter (regardless of program participation) and they actually had a plan for children in case of disaster. Another first for us. For our 3 year old, we had to carry a large phone with us throughout the cruise (whether she was in the children's room or not), but they never needed to call us. We did not want them to feed our children (and they push you to not leave your children during meals) but we wish they kept the playroom open during mealtime so that we could feed the kids earlier at the Lido ourselves and bring them to activities before we ate dinner. It would have given us, our wait staff, and our fellow diners more sanity! The 2-5 group stayed in the playroom and the 6-8 group varied location depending on the activity. The casino was fun but there weren't a lot of variety of slot machines. The floor plan was very open. Not a lot of information was published ahead of time - most announcements were on the screens of the slot machines the day/evening they occurred - so we missed fun events like the slot tournament. Disembarkation - fastest we have ever had on a cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our family vacation right before school started so was a good way to end the summer a total of 4 of us me, wife, 8yr daughter and grandma. This was are 4th carnival cruise so we had a idea what to expect but had been some time ... Read More
This was our family vacation right before school started so was a good way to end the summer a total of 4 of us me, wife, 8yr daughter and grandma. This was are 4th carnival cruise so we had a idea what to expect but had been some time since we had been on a smaller ship and taken less the a 7 day cruise. Since we live in Florida we have several ports to choose from and this time i was looking to avoid a 4 hr trip to Miami so Tampa was a good choice and we were able to have family take us so didn't have to pay for parking. We got to the port at 12:30 there was a small line but it moved fast and we were on the ship in 45 min. For one of carnivals small ship it has alot to offer and is well kept so we didn't get bored. Since we got on so early our cabin was not ready so did what every one dose when gets on the first day is get lunch. After lunch our cabin was ready so we went and found it was on deck 5 main and was just the right size for the 4 of us had two upper and two beds pushed together. Had lots of storage so we had no problem with putting everything away. Went back to pool deck for the sail away party and to let my daughter go swimming and the rest of us had are first drink. Since this was a 5 day cruise only one formal night and carnival has changed there dress code so it was a very casual. On the formal night i only wore a shirt and tie and the rest of my party had on nice dresses and i saw the same with most of the other passengers. On the other night as long as you had on nice cloths you were ok for the dinning room. The food was great only issue was the late night food was the same every night so if you wanted something other then pizza or hamburgers or hot dogs you were out of luck. My daughter has been on 3 cruies now all with carnival and she loves going to camp carnival and making new friends. They do a great job of breaking up the age groups so the young kids and the older ones don't mix and have there own separate space Myself, wife and grandma had a good time going to the shows and spending some time in the casino. Talking about the casino you never had to wait for a table or slot machine this is the first time i saw such a empty casino. This was our 3 time to the two ports Grand Cayman, Cozumel but still had a good time. Getting off the ship was ok no problems. Over all had a good time we already have put a deposit down for our next carnival cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We were a group of 6 going on our first cruise. We usually go to Panama City Beach for our yearly vacation but the oil spill made us plan different this year. Our time on the Inspiration was great and all had a blast. Dining Our ... Read More
We were a group of 6 going on our first cruise. We usually go to Panama City Beach for our yearly vacation but the oil spill made us plan different this year. Our time on the Inspiration was great and all had a blast. Dining Our experience in the dining room each night was amazing to say the least. It was by far our favorite thing of the cruise. The kids even say that as well. Even though we had your time dining, we sat at the same table each and every night. Our head waitress, Corazon, was phenomenal. She knew all our names by the second night. Our second night was formal night and there was lobster on the menu which all of us, including one of our kids had. Me personally, I didn't like the lobster. It was too fishy tasting for me. But since there were 3 courses in the meal, I didn't go hungry. Of course the chocolate melting cake was heavenly just like all cruisers have posted. Our son literally got it every night. I ate several of their Spa meals which are more healthy for you and they were great. You didn't sacrifice taste at all, just the calories. The kids loved show time every night in the dining room. The night we were at Cozumel, we missed show time because we got back on the ship late and they were very disappointed. Usually they would do a dance to a song or two and that would be it. The kids wanted the to dance the whole time. :) On formal night they had a romantic song which many people got up and slow danced to. The Entertainment We went to every show they had but the welcome aboard show. We really wanted to go to it too but we were simply too tired and it was late. We just couldn't make it. The shows were good and we only went to the ones where the kids could go too. The show Shout had some provacative moves and costumes in the beginning which made us question if it really was rated PG like the "Fun Times" said it was. After the first song or two, it calmed down and the rest was fine. My DH and I tried going to a late night comedy act but there were so many people by the time we were able to get the kids settled down with my inlaws that we couldn't get a seat. There were a couple of nights we did go out and listen to the live music and go dancing which was a blast. Of course at that time of night and because its a party, all the people who had waaaaay too much to drink were out and falling all over themselves. Sadly, most of these people weren't young like you would think. We did have one guy that was dancing in our group that had to have been in his 70s. He was out there giving the young kids a run for their money. He could really move! He entertained us so much. Overall the cruise was amazing and by far the best vacation we've had so far. If you are reading this as a person who is thinking of making a reservation, DO IT! We were hesitant about making our reservation because we had never done it before. We read so many horror stories that it almost scared us away from a cruise. Bottom line is, your vacation is what you make of it. We went on this vacation saying we would have a blast even if we were all green and sick the whole time. And we had the time of our life. Another thing, one of the best things that we looked forward to every night was getting dressed up for dinner. We are a very casual family and rarely dress up for anything unless we absolutely have to. We dressed up nicely, took great pictures, and it was our favorite time on the ship. We will definitely be cruising again.....possibly before 2010 is over with! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We booked this cruise less than 2 weeks before sailing and didn't have much time to research the ship in advance. Port of Tampa is 20 minutes from our home, so getting to the port was painless. We looked forward to visiting Nachi ... Read More
We booked this cruise less than 2 weeks before sailing and didn't have much time to research the ship in advance. Port of Tampa is 20 minutes from our home, so getting to the port was painless. We looked forward to visiting Nachi Cocum Beach for the day in Cozumel and relaxing on the 2 days at sea. We booked connecting oceanview cabins on Riviera Deck for our family of four, which gave us plenty of space and storage. We had a wonderful trip on the Inspiration and look forward to sailing her again sometime soon! Every staff and crew member we encountered went out of their way to give us top-notch service. The entertainment crew did a great job with the daytime activities and the evening shows were very good, also. The service, taste, quality & variety of food in the buffet and main dining room was excellent. Our room stewards kept both cabins spotless morning and night. Our son enjoyed the Circle C activities, which was well-attended thanks to the personable counselor, Kodi. We really like the layout of this ship and the flashy interior decor really lives up to the Fun Ship name! The Inspiration is an older ship, but she has been well maintained and shows very little wear. Our days ar sea were spent relaxing by the pool, playing Scrabble, reading... and of course, plenty of eating! LOL! Our day in Cozumel was spent at the all-inclusive Nachi Cocum Beach, with plenty of snorkeling and swimming in their fresh water pool. We spent a little time in the casino on the last evening, and enjoyed the company of the friendly dealers. Our DS enjoyed the mini golf and we all liked the open-air feeling of the ship. Lots of windows with great ocean views, almost everywhere you look! Overall, we rate this ship 5 STARS! The ship, food, service & entertainment exceeded all our expectations for this quick 4-night getaway. We recommend this cruise for both new-comers and old-timers alike! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Embarkation was quick once we valeted. The Customer Service lady was great. Once we got on the ship we headed to Deck 10 where the Brassiere was to meet our friends. It was hot and very crowded. Just saying. It has to be taken into ... Read More
Embarkation was quick once we valeted. The Customer Service lady was great. Once we got on the ship we headed to Deck 10 where the Brassiere was to meet our friends. It was hot and very crowded. Just saying. It has to be taken into consideration everyone is ready to start their cruise and get a bite to eat since boarding is about lunch time. The deli sandwich was delicious. There is an array of foods that don't require standing in the front line. Go in look around. I have to say I had the best food the whole time in the Brassiere! When they have Mexican, the tortilla chicken, guacamole and salsa are all delicious. Checked our cabin at about 2. Didn't see our room steward until the following day, and don't know if we would have seen him at all had we not wanted our bed configuration changed. Was surprised at that. Last cruise I saw the steward many times a day. We are a family of 3 so they had the king and a top bunk. We changed it to 3 bunks because it gave us more room. Our son went to Circle C and LOVED it. He made a whole bunch of new friends. They didn't hang in the camp a lot, some of the time they hung out together around the ship. He was sorry to see it end. That was what this was about-a vacation he would enjoy with other kids. Mission accomplished. The Shows were spectacular. See all you can. Didn't have too much trouble finding deck lounges. It does get busy. Don't try to smuggle large bottles of alcohol. Luggage gets scanned and Liquor taken away. They give you it back at the end. You CAN buy a bottle from Room service. About $20 mark up which we did it. Bring your own mixers and waters and you are set! The drink prices are more expensive the first day after that they are about $5-6 for a regular drink. We had an ocean view room on the main deck. There is no counter space in the bathroom. I got a new over the door shoe holder to put all the toiletries in. Not enough drawers but you can manage. Just about all the entertainment is on the promanade deck. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Embarkation: The embarkation process went really smoothly. The Port of Tampa is larger than other ports that we have been to, and things seem to run well there. We had our fun passes, boarding tickets, driver's licenses, and birth ... Read More
Embarkation: The embarkation process went really smoothly. The Port of Tampa is larger than other ports that we have been to, and things seem to run well there. We had our fun passes, boarding tickets, driver's licenses, and birth certificates ready when we arrived. Public Rooms: The public rooms were clean. The decor is "artistic"...hence the name Inspiration. Cabin: The space was smaller than a hotel room, but was plenty for the two of us. We were able to put all of our clothes in the closet and drawers. The steward kept the cabin clean, and made us cute towel animals. :) Dining: I think that the dining experience is our favorite part of cruising. We were treated special each night and were entertained by the wait staff. The food was good, and we even tried things that we would not eat at home! Of course, we LOVE the chocolate melting cake, so we had that for dessert every night. Entertainment: The entertainment was good...not FABULOUS, but definitely enjoyable. There were 2 different comedians, and they were both funny. We went to the adults only show for one of them...don't go if you are offended by sexual comments or foul language. We were not offended, but I did hear some people behind us that were saying "oh, MY." The talent sow was fun too and there was some great acts. Service: The service was great. The only complaint that I have is that people that are Non-drinkers are driven half crazy by being asked, "would you like a drink" 50 times a day...however, if you are a drinker, I am sure that you are glad that the staff is so anxious to get you a drink. Shore Excursions: We did the Reef & Rays in Grand Cayman, and it was a lot of fun. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. They took us to snorkel at the reef first, and then we went to Stingray City to snorkel. In Cozumel, we did the Mayan Ruins & Beach excursion. The guide, Moises ("MOY") was great. He is part Mayan, and was able to share some really cool history about the site. It was VERY hot and the mosquitos will eat you alive if you don't use bug spray. When we went to the beach there was a little bar and restaurant area. We ordered some nachos, and the salsa was the best that we had ever eaten. We enjoyed both of these excursions, and would recommend them to others. We had a great time on this cruise. This was our first vacation without our children, and we stayed busy (never even had time to miss the kids..LOL) This was our second cruise, and we will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Let me tell you about the cruise that almost wasn't. I was given a cruise for Mother's Day, I didn't want to seem ungreatful so I accepted this gift. Little be known to anyone else that I have a fear of flying and an even ... Read More
Let me tell you about the cruise that almost wasn't. I was given a cruise for Mother's Day, I didn't want to seem ungreatful so I accepted this gift. Little be known to anyone else that I have a fear of flying and an even greater fear of water. I have never even been in a swimming pool. I only had 45 days to plan and get my nervers together for this expedition. I was now ready to go, bags packed, passport tucked away, and off I went. I got through the airport okay, I made the flight just fine, it wasn't at all as I thought it would be, I sat by the window on the way home and could't look away. I flew Delta and it was a beautiful experience. I arrived in Tampa and got a shared taxi to the ship. The moment I stepped on board I felt extremely comfortable. The crew members were very helpful in directing passengers to their cabins. Once in my cabin I had only a short wait for my luggage. The cabin stewards name was UTEN, he was very friendly and informative, explaining to me about the beverages and the fun pack phamphlets that were placed in the cabin, through the entire cruise my cabin was always neat, clean, with towel animals on the bed in the evenings and chocolates, but the kicker was to walk into the cabin at night and Ten would have the light over the bed on which gave the cabin its cozy atmosphere. Hat's off to you TEN. The lunch buffet was marvelous, the crew members were so polite and friendly, remind you that this was my first cruise and I did not know what to expect. The food was great, and the entertainment by the pool was fantastic. There was so much to do and see on board. The only trouble I had was deciding what to do first, second and third, which is how I planned each day. Back to the entertainment for a moment, The crew members that would run different events were extraordinary, meaning, that these were people who would take a group of perfect strangers and have them intermingle, and have fun, while entertaining others. Double Hats Off to the entertainment crew, the music and dancing was also superb. Then there was the dinner in the Mardi Gras dinning room. What can I say, you guys out done yourselves there. The food was out of this world. The entertainment was astronomical, I still would like to know how the dinning staff can muster so much energy after working so hard all day. You guys should be commended. I had trouble seeing my menu and a waiter a Mr. jon Williams noticed that I was straining to see and he took my menu and read it for me and I thought that was so kind and thoughtful triple Hats of to you Mr. Williams. This cruise was inspirational to me in so many ways, I overcame my fear of flying, and fear of drowning all in one setting. I met some of the most extraordinary people on board the Carnival Inspiration, I have been so blessed to have had my first cruise on this ship, I was so overwhelm at the kindness and caring of the crew members, This cruise taught me to live, don't be afraid to try new experiences, and to expect great things always, and when things don't seem so great, make them great. The most important thing I think that I accomplished on this cruise is that I got to know me. Also, I decided that one cruise is definitely not enough, I heard that carnival has so many ships and my new goal for vacationing is to see and sail on them all. I still have time left, so I think I will live!!!!!!!!! Thank you Carnival Inspiration for the great Inspiration. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
As a first time cruise I'd have to say this was the probably the best vacation we've had ever. There was a group of 22 of us and boy were we in for some hella fun. Starting off with EMBARKATION: We drove down from Atlanta the ... Read More
As a first time cruise I'd have to say this was the probably the best vacation we've had ever. There was a group of 22 of us and boy were we in for some hella fun. Starting off with EMBARKATION: We drove down from Atlanta the day prior and stayed at the Sheraton on Cypress. Very beautiful hotel. Ended up getting our rooms at no charge due to filthy bathrooms otherwise rooms were absolutely gorgeous. The next day packed up and headed to eat then drove to port. Little did we know there were several entrances to get into port and ended up getting lost. (GPS did not take us directly in the correct entrance) We ended up almost missing the EMBARKATION literally by 3 minutes as we did not arrive into the correct entrance until 3:27. (You have to board by 3:30) Anyhoo..valet parked for $80 and headed in....there were no lines whatsoever and we made it through embarkation smoothly. ONBOARD: We headed straight to the Lido deck, tons and tons of people onboard hanging out chillin' and drinkin' the DOD's and plenty of entertainment. Everyone was just happy to be there and was just having a great time. Went to the front of the boat...watched the boat go under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Everyone was SOOO amazed at this boat passing under this bridge. I have to admit it was pretty neat seeing that it looked like we were going to crash right into. I believe it clears 12FT from the top. After the ooohhhssss and aahhhhsss we headed to the check on our luggage which arrived by 7:30ish everything packed was there. What a relief :) Met our steward Edward...the nicest most sweetest person EVER! He accomodated us the entire cruise. Really enjoyed his presence and everything he did for us. Dinner every evening was at 8. I have to say the food was absolutely wonderful! The prime rib and lobster tail on elegant night was mouthwatering. The prime rib just melts in your mouth. I also tried the black tiger shrimp....very good! The warm melting chocolate cake was good..Not excellent but good. GRAND CAYMAN: We missed it. Had too much fun from the night before at the Rock and Roll Club and didn't wake til 1:00 p.m. COZUMEL: Oh My. Where do I start? This was the BEST day ever! We took a taxi($4/each way per person) to a private excursion called Nachi Cocum which is about 20 minutes from port and had the most awesome time ever. We parasailed for $60/person and had unlimited drinks and a three course meal for $49/person. What a GREAT deal! The water was absolutely gorgeous and met some really greet people to hangout with. All I can say, if you go to Nachi, Joseph was an AMAZING waiter! And the banana daiquiris were absolutely delicious! Remainder of the trip was a ton of fun and but the last day was sad. We had met some really great people from all over the world....and we had the times of our lives. BUT we have booked another cruise and will be sailing away on the Carnival Victory in May 2011. Sooo excited! But def know that the Inspiration is definitely worth your while. Hey you're on vacation! Make the most of it :) Chowwwww Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This cruise was great, non-stop partying. When we first arrived on the boat, everyone was already in the pool on the lido deck. The staff on the ship was excellent, the waiters and room attendants. The waiters even provide entertainment at ... Read More
This cruise was great, non-stop partying. When we first arrived on the boat, everyone was already in the pool on the lido deck. The staff on the ship was excellent, the waiters and room attendants. The waiters even provide entertainment at dinner. Our room attendant introduced himself to us the first day we were there. There were many activities on the boat for nighttime and during the two full days at sea. Some things we went to on the boat were the shows held in the Paris Lounge every evening and the 18 and older comedy acts. We also went to towel folding class, the galley tour- was excellent highly recommend it, it was a tour of the kitchen. We also went to the mock versions of the newlywed show and jeopardy were guests participated. The cruise director Paul was hilarious. There was a lot of entertainment provided throughout the day on the lido deck- many contests and music. We were assigned to the Mardi Gras dining room and ate there as much as we could. The food was excellent, and if you happened to not like something, you could always ask for another dish. We tried to go there for lunch as much as possible too instead of the buffet. At night, we went to the shows and the dance clubs. There was so much to do and it made the vacation easy because everything, meals and entertainment were all planned out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We are in our mid 40s and early 50s and love cruising on Carnival most of all. Sometime the kids (21 and 24) join us but not this time. We always eat in the dining room when possible and have the late seating for dinner. EMBARKATION ... Read More
We are in our mid 40s and early 50s and love cruising on Carnival most of all. Sometime the kids (21 and 24) join us but not this time. We always eat in the dining room when possible and have the late seating for dinner. EMBARKATION & DEBARKATION Embarkation and debarkation is easy and quick at Port Tampa and a big reason we enjoy this port. It also helps that it is 20 minutes from home. With Channel Side and the Florida Aquarium as neighbors Port Tampa is very pretty, clean and cheerful. Port personnel are very nice and accommodating. We arrived at the port at 10:30am and were on board by 11:15am. We do have VIP status and get express embarkation and debarkation which makes it even easier and faster. DINING - The BEST things about this cruise was Yusuf, our Maitre Di. We had sailed with him on our last 2 cruises. He remembered us and could even tell us what table we had on our last cruise. They probably have all that on record but that doesn't matter. He made us feel special by stopping by every evening. The food on the ship was very good - not great - but very good. We ate breakfast and lunch everyday (except for lunch on port day) in the dining room as we like to be waited on. Our waiters for all meals were great. Our dinner waiters John and Mirza were, as we've found on every Carnival cruise, very friendly and good at their jobs. SHIP & CABIN - The ship was extremely easy to navigate. DEcor was typical Carnival which we like because of the bright colors and festive feel. I loved the red/green/blue lights circling the atrium on each deck. We really liked that to get from bow to stern you did not have to go through the casino on the Promenade Deck. You went passed it but didn't have to go through it and deal with the smoke. With no balconies on this ship we had an ocean view. I missed having a balcony, refrigerator and hair dryer on this ship. Our cabin was fine for the 2 of us and stewards (Arnold, Ari and Marketa) were amazing, always available and accommodating. Ask for something, blink and it was there. We had a lot of fun with them. ENTERTAINMENT -The Welcome Aboard show was OK. The crew shows - Shout (2nd night) and Fiesta Latina (4th night) - were actually very good. The 2nd night - magician (Mark Miller) was great and we wished his show had been longer. Diane Ford was hilarious on night 2 so we went to her R rated show the last evening. I don't think I have ever laughed so much. We really didn't care for Kenny Miller - just not our style of funny. I also really enjoyed Sin the dining room magician...still don't know how did those tricks. EMBARKATION DAY We went to the Lido deck purchased a soda card for my husband and then on to lunch. After lunch we made our way to the excursion desk to inquire about the Behind the Fun tour. (More on this tour later.) Since this was our first time on a Fantasy Class we did some exploring. By 1:30pm we were in our cabin and had met our cabin steward, Arnold. I went to the Spa tour and got some great discounts and entered the $500 drawing. At 3:30pm it was time for the safety talk (used to be a muster drill). We relaxed and unpacked until about 5:00 then back to the Spa for the drawing (didn't win). Around 5:45 we went to the bow of the ship to watch as the Inspiration went under the Sunshine Skyway bridge - according to the captain there is only 9 to 15 meters clearance under the bridge. It looks a lot closer than that. Then it was back to the cabin to dress for dinner in the Mardi Gras dining room. SEA DAYS This was a relaxation cruise for us and we just wanted to take it easy with no schedules. Therefore many of you may find what we did boring so I'll mention that there is something to do all the time. There are the usual Lido pool games and BINGO as well as some other trivia games. There are dance lessons and more kinds of music than I had seen on other ships. I have a thing for steel drums so I particularly like the Calypso Music by the pool area. There's a water slide, miniature golf, a driving cage and a jogging track on deck 14. Almost all Carnival ships offer the Family Beary Cuddly (similar to Build-a-Bear). I do this every cruise and name the stuffed animal after the ship. It's an inexpensive fun souvenir. We enjoyed most of the afternoons on the Serenity (adults only) deck, reading, having a few drinks and enjoying the hot tub. Very quiet and relaxing. COZUMEL This was our only port this cruise and since we had been there a few times before we chose to stay on board. On past cruises we gone horseback riding, to Paradise Beach, Sea Trek and rented a car to explore on our own. All of those were great. I did go into the port area by myself to pick up a couple gifts. I won't do that again as I felt like an easy target and it seemed those trying to get you into the shops were even more aggressive since I was alone. I got what I needed and was back on the ship in an hour. I had booked the Seaweed Detox and full body massage for 2:00pm and it was amazing. You get great discounts when you book spa treatments on port days. BEHIND THE FUN TOUR This is a tour of almost the entire ship, lasts about 3 hours and your have to climb a lot of stairs but it was fascinating. I don't want tell you too much about this but if you have never done this, do yourself a favor and do it on any Carnival ship (don't know if other cruise lines do it). The cost is $55 for Fantasy class and $99 for Spirit class ships. There is very very very limited space on this tour so book it as soon as you can. You get lots of goodies as well. IN CONCLUSION We really liked the ship, the food, and the atmosphere of the Carnival Inspiration. Mostly we liked the staff and crew and will sail on the Inspiration again. We had one negative the entire cruise which was about getting sodas brought to the dining table in the can. He asked the bar waiter to just bring him the Coke in a can and was told it was against the rules but he would do it anyway. Unfortunately, he was told by the bar manager on evening 3 that he could no longer accommodate this. We were devastated that we may have gotten this guy in trouble and all he was doing was trying to make a passenger happy. We spoke to the assistant Maitre Di on duty. He said he would personally handle it and not to worry. The next evening there was a can of Coke on our table before we were even seated. Another reason we like Carnival - any problem we've ever had has been addressed immediately and to our satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Background: This was our first Carnival Cruise....have over the years cruised twice on Holland America, and once each on Princess and NCL. Bottom line up front - While this was not our best cruise experience, we would not shy away from ... Read More
Background: This was our first Carnival Cruise....have over the years cruised twice on Holland America, and once each on Princess and NCL. Bottom line up front - While this was not our best cruise experience, we would not shy away from another Carnival cruise. I might also add that while we enjoy cruising, we're not cruise-only travelers. What we do enjoy, is "VACATIONING" and refuse to get too upset about anything when all that fun is available. Twice as much money and half as many clothes - A moniker my niece, who was in the travel business for years has tried valiantly to teach me...and I may be finally getting the hang of it. We made these reservations back in Oct/Nov timeframe so one would think that when the time came, we'd be ready - NOT! It seems my wife decided the week before to come down with a mean case of pneumonia and it then became a last minute decision of whether to attempt to go or to make an insurance claim and postpone it to a later date. The latter is what we felt was the smart move, but we'd also planned to take our 14 year old granddaughter along (on her Spring break) and rather than disappoint her and also knowing that rescheduling anything with a 14 yr old is much worse than going ahead and going (even being weak from having been sick) we proceeded. Travel and Embarkation: We traveled by car from Northern Alabama, picking up the granddaughter when school was out, and spending the night in Tallahassee. The morning commute into Tampa put us dockside about 1pm. I used the valet parking for $85 and we proceeded immediately with the embarkation process - took about an hour all total, I guess, to get to our Upper Deck Oceanview cabin and after dropping our carry-on's and storing our safe goodies, we then headed out for a late lunch on the lido deck. The safety briefing on Carnival was pretty blah and afterwards, my wife collapsed in the cabin for a much needed siesta while granddaughter and I roamed the ship for a bit then found a great spot near the front to watch the departure process - unfortunately, our dinner hour arrived before we made it under the bridge but they did call attention to this while we were eating. The ship was full and the crew did a great job in trying to keep it clean - public restrooms, however, need more attention than they were given :>( Overall Service was excellent and we met many smiling faces. We had an excellent Cabin Attendant "Eduard" and great Dining Room servers, John and Mirza. I know, I know - get to the good stuff - no one cares about all these details (ha)....ok, so I've already said Embarkation was a piece of cake and speaking of cake, lets talk about real serious stuff - FOOD.... Lido Deck Buffet: We took several meals at the various buffet stations on the Lido deck and overall I'd say it was pretty average buffet food. The breakfast omelet bar near the pool area was the best spot (on the whole ship) for breakfast. That's also the location where you could get Hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. The sandwich bar was excellent even though I could never understand what the guy was asking...ergo, I'd grunt and point (ha)....and I also found the 24 hour pizza kitchen to be top notch (and this is from a guy who eats very little pizza). I do, however, love salads and found the salad bar to be quite good as well. Only one other comment about food in the lido, the sugar cookies were excellent on days 1 and 2 but only average the rest of the week - different batch I guess, but the chocolate chip cookies were awesome all week long (as you perhaps have concluded, I may not eat much pizza but I do LIKE my cookies). Dining Room - We had the 6pm seating in the Mardi Gras dining room and also ate breakfast there on two mornings. I don't recommend the breakfast for food quality as I think the lido was just as good (and if you had the omelet, it was better) - however, eating in a calm relaxed location and making new friends was delightful. Evening dinners (we had four - didn't make it back from Cozumel in time for dinner) were good. Lobster and shrimp were good (hard to mess up these signature dishes) and the BBQ ribs on the first night are a must. I also ate my fill of the Chocolate Melting Cake which was by far the best dessert selection every evening. As for the rest, nothing really stands out - all were ok. Entertainment: While the overall entertainment on the Inspiration was somewhat ho-hum, the Inspiration entertainment department we found to be top notch. The cruise director, Paul, was older than on any previous cruise experience but was easy to listen to and came well equipped with a good joke set. His primary assistants, Matt and TicTac, were extremely efficient extraordinarily good at keeping things going while also having a great time - what bundles of energy they were. I also opted to take the "Behind the Fun" shipboard excursion the last sea day and very much enjoyed meeting and talking with the Lighting director and the Lead Dancer of the Dance Troop - nice folks who loved talking about their jobs. Overall, I'd have to say that was the best part of this excursion (by the way, a three hour tour of the ship) - every place we went from the Laundry to the Galleys to the Bridge, the people giving the briefing were outstanding and from outward appearances, really enjoy their jobs. We saw most all of the evening shows to include the Adults only comedy acts (one of which was excellent - Dean Gaines, the other comedian was just plain vulgar - not funny at all - can't even remember his name but I wouldn't see him again if you paid me). As for the singers and dancers, they were good, not great but the two featured dancers were superb. Off Ship Excursions at Grand Cayman and Cozumel: We opted to contract with off-the-ship company at both locations choosing Moby Dick at Grand Cayman for an absolutely fantastic snorkeling experience followed up by a great time feeding and playing with the Sting Rays. My granddaughter got the hang of holding the Rays and actually held one for over 15 minutes - got some great pics. In Cozumel we spent the day at Nachi Cocom - an absolutely great "all-inclusive" beach resort....Food and drinks were great and plentiful...pool had a swim up bar and the beach was very clean. Carlos was our waiter and was for the most part relatively easy to track down when I needed him. They only take a maximum of 100 people a day and with four ships in the harbor they were near capacity - but even so, it was like we were the only ones there. We also had arranged to go parasailing - a first for the granddaughter - she LOVED it and was still talking about it when we dropped her at home late on Thursday. Other Areas of Interest: The Inspiration entertainment crew did a great job of keeping everything moving on sea days....don't miss the "battle of the sexes" or the "not so newlywed" games. We also enjoyed the variety of trivia contests and made some great friends during these events as well. My wife did dabble a bit at the Casino but did not win. She tried twice to get in the slot tourney finals to no avail - just wasn't her day. The Granddaughter participated all week long in Circle C events - she met several kids her age on the first evening and was on the go all week long. I asked her the last night if she thought she could do a 12 day cruise (it came up as dinner conversation) and she said, "Oh Yeah". Her comment after day one was "I can't believe I only have 4 days left." Lastly, the Adults Only "Serenity" lounge area at the back of the ship was great - wish we had been able to use it more. Disembarkation: We came, we went, we had a great time, we came home and got off. Yep, had to stand in line for a bit - so what....We had breakfast in the Dining Room and picked up our luggage in the cabin around 8:15 and waited for the Disembarkation announcement while standing in line on Deck 7 - Once they made the announcement, we moved out relatively quickly and had picked up our vehicle and was leaving the city by 9:15 or so. The one "negative" if you will about Carnival (and pretty much for all the cruise lines) is that they get so carried away taking pictures. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I was just on Carnival Inspiration from 4/10/10 until 4/15/10. I haven't been on a Carnival cruise since 1997 & after the last 5 nights I am wondering "why not???" I was very impressed with the Inspiration. I went with ... Read More
I was just on Carnival Inspiration from 4/10/10 until 4/15/10. I haven't been on a Carnival cruise since 1997 & after the last 5 nights I am wondering "why not???" I was very impressed with the Inspiration. I went with a friend & our cabin was on the Upper deck with an oceanview window. We had plenty of cabin space and closet space. Absolutely loved the cruise director, Paul Santley. He delivers jokes very, very well and is quite charming at the same time. I also enjoyed the activities team of Matt and Tic Tac. I think I could listen to Matt talk all day. :) They did a great job at getting people involved in the games & activities. It was a lot of fun & very entertaining. Jerry...the Filipino guitar player/singer was amazing. Where he gets that singing voice, I'll never know.....he's outstanding. I also enjoyed the other Matt...guitar player/singer that was by the dining rooms providing entertainment before/after dinner. I felt the dancers/shows lacked a little bit although I give them an A for effort. There were 2 that were outstanding though - don't know their names, but they are incredible. The dance show on the last night - the latin theme - was excellent. Grand Cayman was beautiful...did the Reefs & Rays snorkel excursion. It's the first time I ever used a snorkel outside of a swimming pool. Swimming with the sting rays was a bit scary, but at the same time pretty cool. Well worth the $44. I wasn't all that impressed with Cozumel. The vendors were a bit pushy, which is understandable...but also annoying. Had a drink at Senor Frogs...fun place, but again...pushy. Also stopped by Fat Tuesdays for some chips & nachos and a shot of tequila. Much better atmosphere than Senor Frogs. We had a full ship of 2600 guests & even with it being that crowded, everything seemed to run smoothly. I had a wonderful cabin steward who introduced himself to us right away & even accommodated my request for a fan in the room. I will definitely be cruising again with Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Let me start by saying that me and my wife are first time cruisers, thirty somethings with two kids traveling under the age of 5, frequent travelers and also Canadian. We booked this trip in particular because of the ports of call, cost ... Read More
Let me start by saying that me and my wife are first time cruisers, thirty somethings with two kids traveling under the age of 5, frequent travelers and also Canadian. We booked this trip in particular because of the ports of call, cost and because we were told Carnival Cruise lines is good for people with kids. Ship: While the ship is older and the decor somewhat tacky I never felt dissapointed with the ship itself. It had all the features we wanted, overall it was very clean and the staff was always very helpful and always said hi. There seemed to always be a bar or washroom nearby and overall was easy to navigate. The pool area in the middle was nice but not somewhere we wanted to be, it was always occupied by college kids and singles and since we had our kids the top deck with the splash pad was our hang out. The splash pad and waterslide area is great for kids and my two had a blast. We would just sit out on the chairs and let our kids play. Our two year old would play in the splash pad and our four year old would go up and down about 40 times a day on the smaller water slides, we never felt like the kids were not safe and it was nice to allow us to relax as well. Only negative about the ship is sometimes it was difficult to get to one part of the ship due to all of the elevators not going to all of the floors. Depending on which side of the hallway you were on or which end of the boat you would have to work out a different combination between elevators and stairs to get to where you wanted. Sometimes the elevators took a while to get to you and it was easier to take the stairs but after a few days it became easier to navigate. Room: Let me say that overall I'm very pleased with our experience. We booked a suite with balcony because we knew our kids would be in bed early and we didn't want to feel trapped in our rooms, by going with a balcony we would have somewhere to go if we wanted to have a drink without leaving our room. It was so worth it and I would recommend the upgrade not only to people with kids but anyone in general. We traveled with other couples who had kids and they would come over to our room at night to party and bring their kids, there was plenty of room for all. One night we had 6 adults on the balcony and 6 kids in the room and there was lots of room for more. The suite was very clean overall and if it got dirty the staff was there to clean it twice a day. They always seemed to know the perfect time to come in and out. They would clean it in the morning when we went for breakfest (8-10ish) and then while we were at dinner (6-7ish). The room was very spacious with lots of storage for clothes, etc. There was a TV, fridge, king size bed, pull out couch (double bed for kids), chairs, desk, walk in closet and good size bathroom with whirlpool tub. Their was (2) large windows and the balcony had two chairs and a table. Since we had kids we were concerned with the railing on the balcony but it turned out to be very safe and completely enclosed. My kids would have to climb up on a chair to get over if they wanted too. Again very worth the price, wouldn't go any other way especially after seeing the other rooms first hand. Food: This should be easy. Food was very good. We had buffet breakfest and lunch everyday. You could order from a menu at certain restaurants but why bother? They had 24 hour pizza and fresh grilled sandwiches which we ate quite a bit (especially the kids). We had the early dinner in the Carnivale dining room and we very much enjoyed ourselves. The waiters were great, very courteous and entertaining...especially when they would take 5 minutes out during dinner and all put on a show for us. The menu was pretty good, always changing and seemed to have something for everyone. While certain menu items stayed the same the main apps and entrees changed daily. I ordered two apps, two entrees and two deserts every night! Why not, it's what you paid for right? Best dinner was the lobster and shrimp on formal night...I also ordered the prime rib which was very good that night as well. Another night I had the rack of lamb and was very pleased with it as well. Everyone always talks about the melting cake and I have to say that was good also...in fact had one every night. For the kids what was really nice was they came out with their meals first and really fast, so if you have little ones and can appreciate their attention span having it come out right away makes things easier. We also tried the sushi bar, late night buffets and pizza and all were good. Sometimes lineups were long but really all in all not that bad. Alcohol: I chose to bring wine on board since you are allowed one bottle per person. Our friends don't drink so they brought some for me as well. I was able to have wine with dinner every night and when I wanted to bought drinks during the day. All and all not that expensive. Bar tenders were always generous with shots and prices were around 5 dollars per mixed drink, 7.50 for the special of the day. Beer was 5 bucks and you could get a bucket with 4 beers for a good price. I only ever got charged a corkage fee once for dinner...the wait staff was great. I bought the pop card for 36 dollars and used that a lot too but in hind sight would probably not do that again since my kids don't drink a lot of pop and there was always lemonade and juice available in the restaurants if you wanted it. Shore: We really enjoyed the Grand Cayman!! You have to take a boat to get off the cruise and the only thing I didn't like about this process was that we were stuck in a hallway for about 20 minutes in line trying to get off. But once things got moving the line moved quick. I should also mention that with the suite we had VIP status and priority boarding and unboarding. The only thing that was good for was getting on at embarkcation...on the shore excursions it didn't mean anything so that was a bummer. I found the Grand Cayman to be clean, courteous, a very distinct British presence, expensive at times but very beautiful. We also found it to be very safe. We rented a car and had a blast driving around the island finding hidden gem beaches. Tip...Rum Point...heaven on earth. About a 45 minute drive from Georgetown but so worth it. Our friends did an excursion to the turtle farm but at the end of the day had no time for the beach since the amount of time spent at this port was short. I would recommend renting a car and beaching it! Never once felt unsafe or nervous about venturing out on our own. Car was relatively cheap given the expensive nature of the island. Whole excursion including gas was only $70 US compared to $40 per person for some of the prepaid excursions. After we were back on the boat our friends were commenting on how they had wished they had done what we did. My only beef about Grand Cayman...not enough time here!!! I could live there it was so nice. This cruise should put more time on the Cayman islands instead of Cozumel. Oh yes one more thing. In Grand Cayman they use RHD cars and drive on the opposite side of the road so that was a little hard to adjust too but made for some good laughs between me and my wife and my kids. Cozumel was nice too don't get me wrong but something about the feeling on the Caymans as opposed to Mexico. We did almost the exact same thing in Cozumel, we rented a Jeep and drove around the island looking for a beach. San Miguel is a lot busier and dirtier then Georgetown by contrast and so we were left with a lot more nervousnous and un safe feelings then in Grand Cayman. I travel to Mexico quite a bit for work so I was pretty comfortable but my wife was not as much. I also wouldn't be as inclined to just stop and go into a shop or restaurant as I would have in the Caymans. We drove to the other side of the island and found a lovely public beach that we ended up having all to ourselves...Punta Morena. The day we were there it was very windy but turned out to be an excellent experience....we laid out on the beach all day and had it all to ourselves. Our friends again purchased an excursion to go into town and they didn't end up with any beach time. I felt this was the key to us enjoying the most out of the islands. Having good R&R beach time as well as the adventure of renting a car and driving around. We still had plenty of time for shopping. Because Cozumel was a longer day we went in early and turned back the Jeep. We spent the next couple of hours shopping by the pier which is clearly setup for cruise travelers. All and all a good stop but made better I think by our adventure. Camp Carnival: We used this service a couple of times on the trip to get some alone time and all in all I was fairly pleased. It's very safe and they give you a cell phone to keep on you at all times incase of an emergency with your kids. Only beef I had with this service was because our kids were younger it seemed like we could only leave our kids for an hour at a time. They would open at 10 for example and you have to pick them up at 11:45. Then not drop them back off until 2. Like I said overall I'm fairly pleased but would have liked a bit more time to work with. Special Note for Canadians and VIP guests: For Canadians. When leaving plan on being at immigration on the boat early. What you are not told is that prior to getting off the ship all non us citizens have to go through immigration on the boat the morning off. Since we were a family of four all of us needed to be present with ID at 6:45 am. We should up early and it was a good thing. The line was huge and had we have showed up late we would have been waiting for a long time. VIPs who are not US citizens. Take note that you will not be given special treatment getting off the boat. It helps when getting on but getting off it does not. All US citizens who choose to carry off their own luggage get first preference in getting off. It seemed like to us we should have been able to go first being VIP but all people who want to carry off their own bags are given priority. After the boat docks at 8:00 it took an hour to get off, not a whole lot of time but after being up and at immigration for 6:30 we were ready to go and felt like most of the morning we were waiting around to get off. Only complaint would be that since we had VIP treatment it should have accounted for more on disembarkation. Anyway, all in all very pleased with our cruise experience and all of us enjoyed it. Would I go on a cruise again? Not sure...I'm a frequent resort go'er and wanted to try a cruise for the food and ports of call. Both me and my wife agree if we did it again it would be if it hit a lot of ports...like say the Eastern Caribbean. We only ever got sea sick on the first night and the last because the waves were high in Florida (their weather has been horrible) other then that it was calm all the way through. It has taken us three days to get rid of the rocking motion from being on the boat and that is hard to get use to. So in the end I would probably resort it next time...I'm a beach bum...but would consider a cruise like I said if it hit multiple ports. Overall pleased with Carnival and pleased with my decision to go on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We cruised with friends, and this was their first cruise and our second one. Our cabin was small but ok. We saw our cabin steward once the entire trip. We ordered gifts for the kids to be placed on the beds upon arrival & they were all ... Read More
We cruised with friends, and this was their first cruise and our second one. Our cabin was small but ok. We saw our cabin steward once the entire trip. We ordered gifts for the kids to be placed on the beds upon arrival & they were all wrong and that was a disappointing way to start. We were unhappy that all the whirlpools were closed and that the water slide was out of commission most of the trip. I complained, but there was nothing they could do about it. Many of the programs we showed up for did not happen (I later found out that the entertainment director was battling illness the entire trip) but it left us frustrated. We thought the food was ok, but we had open seating and it was very slow. One night it took us almost 3 hours to get through our meal and we missed a show. Our Cozumel excursion was changed at the last minute, and again we had no warning or choice in the matter. Camp Carnival (which was supposed to be a free child-watching service) had an unexpected "special party" charge of $25 per child on the one or two nights we wanted to use it, so we said no thanks. We never got a chance to sit outside the one working pool because deck chairs were all gone by 8:00 a.m. The MOST frustrating part was the college drunks...we were told that spring break started the following week which is why we opted to take our kids out of school and go the week we did. Unfortunately, there were about 40 or 50 (?) kids who decided to take a week off of college and spend it completely drunk and obnoxious. They were "almost" kicked off the ship a few times. Too bad it didn't happen. I didn't feel comfortable letting my 11 & 12 year old go around the ship alone because of them. Listening to beer bottle bowling outside of our cabin at 2:00 am is not fun. On the good side, we did manage to still have a memorable time because we made that decision before we left. We enjoyed the scenery and the shows, we did enjoy our excursions, the food was acceptable, and I do have to say that the dining room staff treated us like royalty. We had things (cakes, drinks, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.) unexpectedly delivered to our table each night; and we really enjoyed Joseph, our Maitre D'. We'll cruise again, but I doubt it will be on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
The Carnival Inspiration sails from the port in Tampa, Fl. I had never been there before. The traffic was confusing because of road construction and even my Garmin got me lost. I was going to park my car myself after dropping off my bags, ... Read More
The Carnival Inspiration sails from the port in Tampa, Fl. I had never been there before. The traffic was confusing because of road construction and even my Garmin got me lost. I was going to park my car myself after dropping off my bags, but ended up overwhelmed and used the valet service for my car because of all the confusion. I had booked through the Cruise Line. The operator was very helpful and informative and she made many recommendations that helped a lot. My mother and sister were meeting me on the ship. We had reserved a balcony suite and ended up on the 11th deck. After dropping off my car and checking in my bags, I entered the check in area. I had thought the VIP on my check in paperwork was a logo of some kind and it was a surprise to find out it really meant VIP! After the customs scan, there was special check in and treatment. The pocket sized deck plan helped with the confusion of finding the way around the ship. We still got mixed up but then so did everyone else. We had early seating. Our waiters were great and the food was wonderful. The other food area times were posted and always had an assortment of things to eat. The suite was clean, the beds were great, and there was plenty of space for the 3 of us. I think it would have pushed to have 4 adults in the room though. The balcony was narrow and held 2 chairs and a small table. As little as we were in the room, it was plenty. There were plenty of TV channels but the only one we really had on was the one with the ships position. There was plenty to do from doing nothing to being busy every moment, every day for every age group. I was even able to stuff a bear for myself! We were fortunate enough to be able to go on the behind the cruise tour of the ship. It was a wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity. The only drawback was the hot tubs were down most of the cruise. The thing that impressed me the most was the way the crew related to the passengers. I have never been around so many pleasant people. No matter what happened, the crew was helpful, smiling, and went out of their way to assist. I would recommend Carnival for a first cruise for any new sailor. Having lived in other countries, Cozumel was the typical tourist industry island. They were not shy in letting us know that we were their main source of income. We took the "see the island and shopping tour". It lasted 5 hours and we only had 1 small 15 min. stop at a snack shop that only had coconut meat, pineapple, and watermelon. If we had not taken bottled water with us, it would have been very difficult. Way too long with no real food choices. The tour guide was nice and the bus was clean and well kept. We could have had more time with the shopping part. My sister liked the Tequila factory tour though......never knew there were so many flavors of tequila. It was a good way to see the island for a first time tourist. If I would go again, I would choose another way to see the island. If you need to take medications with food on a strict schedule I would think twice about taking this tour. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I'll start off by saying, as with all of my vacations, I did a ton of research when choosing our spring cruise this year. I read review after review here on Cruise Critic, and can safely say that any bad review is from someone that ... Read More
I'll start off by saying, as with all of my vacations, I did a ton of research when choosing our spring cruise this year. I read review after review here on Cruise Critic, and can safely say that any bad review is from someone that you just can't please. My husband and I are pretty much "go with the flow" type of people, and small stuff just doesn't bother us. One bad food item (not that we had any on this trip) or a long wait for an elevator is NOT going to rain on our parade. You can tell the bad reviewers are just people who set the bar way higher than it should be. If you go on a cruise, whether it be on Carnival, Royal or Disney, you should expect bumps in the road (I mean, come on...you are on a large ship with thousands of other people), but know that they aren't going to ruin your good time. Vacations are meant to take your mind off of the day to day struggles...so let that happen!!!! We live in Lakeland, which is only 35 minutes away from the port. We arrived at the Tampa port around 11am and were on the ship by 12. This is my 3rd time sailing from Tampa, and every time embarkation has been a breeze. We went straight up to the Lido deck and enjoyed our first vacation lunch while looking over beautiful Channelside at the Port of Tampa. We were in our room by 1:30, and had plenty of space in our inside cabin, even with 4 adults. The muster drill is super easy these days since you no longer have to tote around and wear those bulky life jackets. Once we set sail, we ran upstairs to watch. My SIL still swears that she saw a shark jump out of the water, but none of us saw it thanks to a kid who decided to try and climb a slopey thing and fell at the exact same moment. We did see something going back into the water, but I guess we'll never really know. We especially enjoyed seeing the ship go under the Skyway Bridge...absolutely breathtaking! Dinner for us was at 8:15 every night, and we had great meals every night. My sister in law and her boyfriend are both 18, and they really surprised us with their willingness to try new things. Almost every thing they tried they loved, and the rare items that they didn't, our waiter (Claude) hurried to get them something that they did like. He was amazing and so was his assistant...TEQUILA!!! :-) We had breakfast in the restaurant three times and on the Lido desk twice. I prefer the restaurant since the lines can be a bit much first thing in the morning. Our first fun day at sea consisted of us doing some trivia games, lounging out in the sun for a few minutes, playing in the casino some and getting ready for our formal Captain's dinner. I was a little disappointed that they no longer do the Captain's party with the free drinks and appetizers, but they do offer a Happy Hour special with all drinks being $1 off. We got all dolled up and went down to take pictures at all of Carnival's great portrait settings. My sis in law wanted a formal pic of her and her BF and after going to about 10 different settings, she was able to pick out the cream of the crop. Three of us ordered the lobster and shrimp for dinner, and my SIL ordered the steak. After seeing our lobster, she wanted one as well, and our waiter jumped on that for her. The lobsters are on the smaller side but you can have as many as you want...not bad if you ask me. The last fun day at sea we took in the newlywed game, which was hilarious. We also hung out in the casino for a little bit. We didn't hit anything big, but did wind up spending a few hours there for only $20. We played Bingo and never won. Such a suckers game. Haha! We chose to take our own luggage off the ship, which was great. We called the front desk the night before and confirmed that we had to be out of our rooms by 9am, which is so much better than the 7:30am that it used to be. We got up around 7, went to breakfast in the dining room and then headed back to gather up our belongings. We made our way up to deck 6 to wait and once deck 5 was called (we were actually on deck 4) we got in line and headed off the ship. It took about 10 minutes to get through the line and down to customs, and about 10 minutes waiting through that line. We had family pick us up (so we didn't have to pay those ridiculous parking charges) and we were back in the car by 9am. All in all, one of the best cruises we've been on! Highlights: dinner, Carlos n Charlies Beach Club and the employees of Carnival. We never came across any employee that wasn't all smiles and full of "How are you doing's". Anyone who says they experienced a rude employee must be confused. People seem to forget that some of the employees don't speak good English, and tend to shy away. It's probably extremely frustrating for them to get involved in a conversation where neither party understands the other one. So the way they avoid this is to shy away from guests. I can't say I blame them. :-) Oh, and the cruise director and his staff were awesome! Very funny and kept us laughing all the time. "Come on Matt!" :-) Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Flew to tampa the morning of the cruise, direct flight on southwest. Got to tampa around 10:20am, took a cab from the airport ($25 for 5 people) straight to the port. Got checked-in pretty quickly and waited for our zone to be called. Was ... Read More
Flew to tampa the morning of the cruise, direct flight on southwest. Got to tampa around 10:20am, took a cab from the airport ($25 for 5 people) straight to the port. Got checked-in pretty quickly and waited for our zone to be called. Was on the ship by around 12:30 at the latest. Had buffet lunch and tried walking around to get oriented to the ship some. We had the early dinner seating, 6pm. Dinner was good, not great. Melting cake was awesome of course. day 2, first sea day: Buffet breakfast and lunch, didn't get out to look for chairs early enough the ship was pretty full. Didn't really seem to be much chair hogging going on, just a full ship, and everyone was out in the sun because it was a beautiful day. We decided to just sit in the wooden raised area in the middle of the water works and let DS play in the splash area. A nice couple ended up getting up and coming up to us to offer us their chairs in the front row because they were leaving. All of the adults did all the slides and loved them. This was "elegant night" lobster was great according to DH, I had prime rib, also great. Our waiter was bringing out extra lobster until everyone at the table was stuffed. Port days reviewed below day 5 2nd sea day: We were prepared to get out and claim our chairs early but it was raining. Mostly walked around the ship taking part in a few activities. Overview: buffets were decent, not much different than I would expect from any buffet. Pretty wide selection though. Never tried room service. Didn't go to very many shows, the ones we went to were pretty good. Ate a sit down breakfast one morning also good. Dinners were good, not the best I've had on a cruise but good. I felt the staff to be very accommodating to traveling with a 1 year old. Cabin was roomier than I expected even with a crib. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We've been on a number of Carnival cruises, but this was the time our family came along (2 year old, 5 year old, grandma and aunt). This is also the first cruise we have been on in about 6 years. On the plus side, the activities we ... Read More
We've been on a number of Carnival cruises, but this was the time our family came along (2 year old, 5 year old, grandma and aunt). This is also the first cruise we have been on in about 6 years. On the plus side, the activities we participated in were lots of fun, and the Camp Carnival seemed to thrill the kids and give us some free time. The formal dining was very good, the fellow passengers were great shipmates. Although our room was the smallest we've ever had, the layout was ingenious for 4 people to sleep well and to adjoin another cabin. The bathrooms were well designed and our cabin steward was very attentive and responsive to us and our grandma's handicapped needs (we were not in a handicapped room, but the shower was easy for a semi-ambulatory person). The main issue we had with the cruise was that some of the main attractions of the ship did not function throughout the cruise, namely the water park and the hot tubs. It was not Carnival's fault that the entire trip was breezy and chilly, but none of the on board hot tubs was filled the entire cruise. This left the pool the only water activity, which our goofy kids of course wanted to go in. It would have been so much better to let them slide and wade in the water park without having to endure a cold pool. Crew members could only tell us they couldn't get the chlorine balance right to run the water park, and the hot tubs all had signs that they were having maintenance done. Some of the activities we showed up to participate in also just didn't happen. Every time, the activity was specifically listed in the "Fun Times" (formerly "Carnival Capers") schedule, but didn't happen with no attempt at explanation or apology. We showed up on the cold Lido deck for the TV show music trivia that never happened, the "Carnival Millionaire" game show also never occurred without explanation. The second part of a two-part trivia game was canceled, despite continued assurances that "if you're behind on points, you may still win because tomorrow is double the points" (we won the first day, so this is not just sour grapes). We also went to a 7 am morning stretch class that was listed in the "Fun Times" schedule but, we later learned, not in the spa schedule. The instructor ultimately appeared to let us know there was not a class, but it would have been nice if he had just given the class since a group had already assembled. His reaction when we told him that the class was listed in the daily "Fun Times" was to say, "Probably" and show us a "revised" spa schedule that showed there were no organized classes that day. Not sure what he had to do that was so pressing that he couldn't just run the class, since several people took the trouble to show up. There were other little cancellations like this that made us wonder why the activities staff would list these events and then just choose not to do them. Either don't list them at all, or list them and commit. It was still a good cruise, but it could have been fantastic with everything working. In the future I would look for a longer cruise on a newer, larger ship, and I would pay a little extra for a larger or a balcony room. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
First some background - my husband and I are in our mid 40s. This was our 14th cruise (2nd on Carnival, 2 on Celebrity, 10 on NCL). We booked this cruise because of the price and also because it left from Tampa. My husband was in Lakeland ... Read More
First some background - my husband and I are in our mid 40s. This was our 14th cruise (2nd on Carnival, 2 on Celebrity, 10 on NCL). We booked this cruise because of the price and also because it left from Tampa. My husband was in Lakeland to see the Tigers at Spring training the week before (GO TIGERS!). Monday we drove to Tampa and dropped off our car at the rental agency. From there we caught the Carnival bus to the pier (yes, I know a taxi is cheaper but my husband prefers the cruise line transport). We were the oldest people on the bus and that was without a doubt. We had unwittingly booked a Spring Break Cruise! Embarkation was a breeze. We did have to wait for them to call Zones, but we were on the ship by noon with probably a half hour wait from being dropped off at the pier to boarding the ship. We begin by eating on the Lido deck. To our surprise the pools and hot tubs were all closed. Generally we have been able to use the facilities as soon as we have boarded. The buffet was uninspired but hey, we are on a cruise - who cares! I will summarize the rest of the cruise into three categories, good, bad and ugly. I will tell you that we had a great time! I have never been on a "bad" cruise - however, like everyone we have opinions and preferences. The Good - Carnival staff is incredibly friendly. We did not meet one staff person in the hallway, in a restaurant, on deck, anywhere that did not smile and say hello. Very refreshing given the current state of most service industries. That was wonderful. The ship was VERY CLEAN, including our cabin. Never once had any request or heard any request go unfulfiled. Our cabin, E21, was a large inside cabin. Cabin was nicely furnished and very spacious. Only our third time in an inside and we really enjoyed it. Our ports of call were okay - we have been to both several times. In Grand Cayman we went on a jet ski tour with Action Watersports. Very fun - but even though this tour is recommended for kids I would not take children who are not strong swimmers. Cozumel we looked around the touristy area at the pier and bought some souvenirs (word to the wise - don't try to take hot sauce on an airplane - it is over the 3.4 ounces allowed). Our table mates were a lot of fun. We actually sat with a Elvis impersonator. We enjoyed everyone's company at our table and that was great! The comedian on board - hilarous - however, definitely R rated. I did appreciate how Carnival warns everyone that some shows are not appropriate for children and sensitive people. The Ugly - Not enough deck chairs! Carnival has a lovely area on this ship called Serenity. Beautiful, quiet and adults only. However, not anywhere even enough chairs. Even on the main pool deck - not enough chairs. Friday (a sea day) every chair was "taken" by 7:30 am. There is room for more chairs not sure why there aren't more. Especially on fully booked trips. The drink prices are outrageous! Way more than land drink prices. I realize that they have a captive audience but still!!!! The Plain Bad - the food was awful. Cheap, unimaginative and often cold. I realize that this is an inexpensive cruise, but there is no excuse for food this bad. Even hospital food is better. We ate mostly appetizers and those were normally pretty good. Watch out for the flat iron steak and the Chateaubriand. Both are pretty scary. Overall, a good week! We would sail with Carnival again, if the price was right like this trip. The Spring Breakers were amusing (especially at pool games). We did not experience any problems with the Spring Breakers and they all seemed to be having a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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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